Monday, March 14, 2011

Mythology Mondays - Norse Mythology

When I first began thinking about studying mythology, I assumed that what I'd be looking into was Greek/Roman mythology, the stuff I studied in school.  When I was reading fairy tales for last week, I discovered the the fairy tale "Mother Hulda" had some basis in Norse mythology.  So, of course, I immediately decided that I'd need to expand my horizons.

In Norse mythology there are nine worlds, including worlds for gods, elves, fire, those who die of age or sickness and the netherworld (Hel).  Each of the worlds has places of significance, most famously Valhalla Valhalla is said to be the home of Odin, one of the most famous of the Nordic gods, and the home of the Einherjar (the souls of the greatest warriors) who were selected by the Valkyries.  Right about now, I'd imagine a certain epic piece of classical music is beginning to play through your head.

You might also be familiar with Loki, who is said to have sometimes helped and sometimes caused problems for the gods, and was a shape shifter.  He came to an untimely death after he killed one of the gods and was punished by first being bound with the entrails of his own son. 

Those of you who have read Christina Sunley's "The Tricking of Freya," will also be familiar with the goddess Freya who was associated with love, beauty, fertility, war and death.  Even in mythology, it appears, the women were able to multitask! She receives the half of the dead warriors that Odin doesn't.

As much as I've forgotten much of what I've learned about the Greek and Roman gods, at least they are familiar to me.  The Norse mythology is utterly foreign to me and I'm eager to learn more, particularly in light of the fact that it's the mythology of my ancestors. Which is my way of saying, you've not heard the last of the Nordic gods!


  1. I love mythology, but I have a hard time keeping apart the various cultures.

  2. I'm really interested in the Norse myths. Probably because I don't really know much about them. I recently picked up a copy of The Sagas of the Icelanders and I can't wait to dig into that. Great post!

  3. I don't know a whole lot about Norse mythology either. And I took a mythology class in college!

    Valhalla is familiar to me though, because it was a plot line in the show Charmed :o)

  4. I know a little bit about Norse mythology, but not as much as I probably should. I have read a few books that feature the Norse gods, but would love to explore them further. Great post! I would love to see you do more in this vein!

  5. My boys love Mythology. Me...haven't really given it a good try!! But I did almost name my dog Loki after the God of Mischief!!